Brewery Vivant will launch three varieties of wood and wild-fermented beers to kick off their Plein de Vie (“full of life”) series on June 5 at the Brewery. The series includes wood barrel aged beers, wooden foeder (“food-er”) aged beers, and stainless wild fermented beers. Plein de Vie will be available on draft and in 500ml glass bottles, and will be distributed throughout the brewery’s footprint of Michigan and Chicagoland.
Plein de Vie – Belgian Tradition & BV Tradition
Wood aging beers has long been a traditional brewing technique in Belgium. Belgian brewers are known for embracing not only local ingredients but also the local micro-flora when brewing. Brewery Vivant is rooted in this Belgian tradition. The Grand Rapids brewery has been known for its small batch wood-aging program since its founding in 2010. The first sour beer to come alive at the Pub was from a barrel named Angelina. It paved the way for more and deeper experimentation culminating in the brewery’s first-ever Wood-Aged Beer Festival, which took place on its small patio and touted eight different wood-aged beers. This year’s WABF (Sept 17, 2016) will boast some 20 varieties.
Keep it Separated
Housed in a former funeral chapel dating back to the 1900s Brewery Vivant’s vaulted wooden barrel ceiling has always given the brewing team cause for concern as wild yeast lives all around us and wooden beams are difficult to deep clean. “We carved out a portion of our brewery, a physically separated space, to devote to wild yeast strains and souring bugs.” Says Brian Kuszynski, the brewer that heads up the affectionately termed ‘Funk Room’. “We’re pumped to finally be able to produce these types of beers at a volume that we can share them with people outside our walls.” Kuszynski says the June 5 launch will consist of three brands with the intent to distribute 2-4 per year as the beer “tells us when it’s ready.”
Why Glass Bottles?
Known for its 16-ounce pint cans, Brewery Vivant will package Plein de Vie beers in a 500ml glass bottle. Bottles were chosen because of the wild yeast strains and potential for flavors to develop. While the beer is released ready to drink immediately, the glass is rated to hold the beer for extended periods of time. “Aluminum cans are really meant as a delivery vessel, not a storing vessel.” Says owner & president Jason Spaulding. “Plein de Vie literally translates to ‘full of life’ and a glass bottle should hold the integrity of the beer’s life. These beers can be cellared and will continue to develop and change over time.”
Be a Part of the Start
To launch the series, three beers will be released from the pub and then into distribution on draft and in bottles. Pub opens at Noon on Sunday June 5.
Habanango: a foeder fermented and barrel-aged blended sour ale with habanero peppers & mango
Harvest Breed: a stainless brettanomyces wild sour ale
Angelina: a wood barrel-aged sour
“When we first started, we named our barrels in the hurricane naming convention: Angelina, Bertha, Constance, etc.” Says Spaulding. “Angelina was our first barrel. It produced a distinct and pleasant sour character that we’ve since inoculated into other wooden barrels. That first batch developed a cult-like following and so far, the barrel keeps producing. It’s become our ‘house sour’.”